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City Pub sales jump 35% as expansion continues

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Monday 20 May 2019

(Sharecast News) - City Pub Group reported a jump in sales on Monday for the 19 weeks to 12 May, as it said it's on track to meet expectations for the year.
The company - which currently has 45 sites trading - said sales were up 35% on the previous year.

During the period, it completed the acquisition of The Hoste, a hotel in Burnham Market, North Norfolk, which will continue to trade in its current format. This is a 53-bedroom site with spa, cinema and gym, which is close to our two sites in Norwich. It also completed the acquisition of a freehold site in Bath, formerly known as The Nest, which is expected to reopen following significant refurbishment in late 2019 or early 2020.

The company said Aragon House in Parsons Green will fully open to the public next week as the refurbishment is nearly finished following some delays with planning.

Chief executive Clive Watson said: "We have enjoyed continued strong momentum since the start of the year. Whilst still early in the year, the board believes the group is well-placed to meet its expectations for the year as a whole.

"We have a range of excellent and high-quality new sites that we have acquired to come on stream. We are continuing to seek further pubs in Southern England and Wales to build the estate and achieve our target of 65-70 sites by mid-2021. We enjoy a strong balance sheet which enables quick and decisive decision making to purchase development sites or existing trading sites that can be improved in a softening market for acquisitions."

Broker Liberum said the 35% increase in sales was "impressive", helped slightly by the easier comparatives to last year's extreme bad weather and the annualisation and maturity of pub openings.

"We expect further upside to be achieved from the investment in new openings and the sites due to open later this year. We estimate £48m of growth capex spent 2018/19 - the majority of which is not yet trading - which should help drive earnings momentum over the next few years.

"Additionally, the company remains on the lookout for further pubs in the South East and Wales to add to its estate. The sector leading growth, expansion opportunity and strong asset backed balance sheet supports our target price of 280p."

Liberum rates the stock at 'buy'.

At 1220 BST, the shares were up 1.1% at 229.90p.


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